education | January 20, 2013

More Testing Doesn't Provide Educational Equity: Pedro Noguera In NYT

"It’s time for the federal government to return to defending the educational rights of the most vulnerable children," Pedro Noguera declares in an opinion piece in The New York TimesCurrently the Professor of Education at New York University, he is an expert on public education. As he explains in the article, the No Child Left Behind Policy (Elementary and Secondary Education Act), was good in theory—but disappointing in practice. Instead of directly addressing educational inequalities among students, it relied primarily on increasing standardized testing as a means for monitoring how well students were learning.

"Not only is the policy not producing the progress that was promised," he says, "but also there is substantial evidence that it is having the unintended effect of undermining the educational opportunities of the very children it was meant to serve." Although the initiative was developed to foster equity between students, the method used to achieve it was all wrong. Educational opportunities were diminished, rather than increased, as vital programs in science, history, and the arts were cut across the board. The schools that teach some of the nation's poorest children saw the most drastic cutbacks—despite the fact that the act was supposed to help these children the most. Further, he explains that these cuts did nothing to decrease dropout rates (which still remain extremely high) or improve student success in literary skills or math.

Noguera says it's time for the government to step in and approach equitable education in a more productive and effective manner. As the Executive Director of the Metropolitan Center for Urban Education, and in his other research, he looks toward the future of education. As the leading voice for the public education sector, Noguera delivers rousing and informative keynotes on the shortcomings of the system and inspires audiences to demand a better way of ensuring that all children are given an equal shot at success.

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